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Defendant was convicted of sale of cocaine and was sentenced under the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA). In calculating Defendant’s criminal history score, the sentencing court classified as a person crime a 1990 felony adjudication for burglary. Defendant later filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that the classification of the felony adjudication for burglary was error under State v. Dickey, 350 P.3d 1054 (Kan. 2015) (Dickey I), which held that pre-KSGA convictions and juvenile adjudications of burglary under Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-3715 must be classified as nonperson felonies. The district court denied relief. The Supreme Court reversed and vacated Defendant’s sentence based on Dickey I, holding that the sentencing court improperly classified Defendant’s 1990 burglary adjudication as a person felony, resulting in an incorrect criminal history score and an illegal sentence. The court remanded for resentencing with directions to reclassify the 1990 burglary adjudication as a nonperson felony. View "State v. Donaldson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was convicted of a 1993 aggravated robbery and sentenced under the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA). The sentencing court, in calculating Defendant’s criminal history score, classified as person felonies three residential burglary offenses that Defendant committed in the late 1980s. Defendant filed a motion to correct his aggravated robbery sentence, arguing that the offenses were misclassified. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant was not entitled to have the offenses classified as nonperson offenses under State v. Murdock, 323 P.3d 846 (Kan. 2014); (2) Defendant was not entitled to have the offense classified as nonperson offenses under State v. Dickey, 350 P.3d 1054 (Kan. 2015); (3) the KSGA’s person/nonperson classification of pre-KSGA offenses does not violate the Sixth Amendment’s prohibition on nonjury factual findings that increase a defendant’s sentence; and (4) the district court did not err by denying Defendant’s motion without a hearing. View "State v. Collier" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant pleaded no contest to capital murder and attempted murder. The district court concluded there was a sufficient factual basis to support findings of guilt on the two charges and accepted Appellant’s no contest plea. Before he was sentenced, Appellant filed a motion to withdraw his plea. The district court denied the motion, concluding that Appellant failed to establish good cause for withdrawing his no contest plea. On appeal, Appellant argued that he met the good-cause burden by showing he was misinformed about how his no contest plea might affect his ability to pursue double jeopardy arguments on appeal, and therefore, his plea was not knowingly entered. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion to withdraw his no contest plea. View "State v. Reu-El" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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More than thirteen years after he was sentenced to life for second-degree murder, Appellant filed a pro se motion under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504 to correct an illegal sentence. In his motion, Appellant claimed that his sentence was illegal because the district court failed to include a jury instruction on voluntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense to first-degree murder. The district court denied the motion. On appeal, Appellant claimed that the district court should have construed his pro se pleading as being a motion under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 22-3504(1) was the wrong vehicle to challenge the alleged instruction error, and a section 60-1507 motion was untimely; and (2) further, Appellant’s failure to request an instruction on voluntary manslaughter erected a considerable obstacle to obtaining relief. View "State v. Ditges" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, and theft. The trial court sentenced Defendant to a hard fifty life sentence for murder. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences, holding (1) the district court did not commit reversible error when it excluded evidence of the victim’s other computer dating contacts; (2) the prosecutor did not engage in error during closing argument; (3) the evidence was sufficient to prove the conviction for aggravated burglary; (4) the district court’s limitation of voir dire questioning did not deprive Defendant of his constitutional right to a fair trial; and (5) the State provided Defendant with constitutionally satisfactory notice that it would seek a hard fifty sentence. View "State v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed an intentional tort lawsuit against Defendants for injuries he allegedly suffered as a result of a battery. The case was dismissed for lack of prosecution. Plaintiff refiled his case using the Kansas savings statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-518. The district court dismissed the case once again for lack of prosecution. Plaintiff then filed this third action, attempting to invoke section 6-518 a second time. The district court dismissed the action with prejudice. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding (1) a party may use section 60-518 only one time to resurrect a case dismissed for a reason other than upon the merits when the statute of limitations for the underlying cause of action has expired; and (2) therefore, this action was barred by the statute of limitations and properly dismissed with prejudice. View "Lozano v. Alvarez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence of life imprisonment for felony murder but concluded that no enforceable restitution judgment existed against Defendant. Defendant appealed the summary denial of three pro se motions, arguing that his sentence was illegal and that restitution was wrongfully collected during his imprisonment. The court held (1) no enforceable restitution judgment existed against Defendant, and the wrongful collection of restitution likely arose from a clerical error; (2) Defendant’s offenses were properly classified as person felonies; and (3) Defendant’s sentence was not illegal. The court remanded for a hearing and correction of the clerical mistake. View "State v. Bailey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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A jury convicted Defendant of two alternative counts of capital murder based on either the rape or the kidnapping of eight-year-old A.I., an alternative count of premeditated first-degree murder, and rape. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment with the exception of Defendant’s rape conviction, which the court reversed. The court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s determination that Defendant premeditated A.I.’s killing; (2) prosecutorial error in closing argument did not require reversal; (3) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress his confession; (4) there was no error in the omission of additional unanimity language in the jury instructions; and (5) because rape is an element of Defendant’s conviction for capital murder, he is punished for it to the extent the capital conviction stands. View "State v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Bryon Kirtdoll’s motion to correct an illegal sentence. In 2004, Kirtdoll was convicted of first-degree murder. Kirtdoll was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of life without possibility of parole for fifty years. The conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. In 2013, Kirtdoll filed a pro se motion to vacate sentence, arguing that Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. __ (2013) rendered his judicially enhanced life sentence illegal. The district court analyzed the merits of Kirtdoll’s motion under both Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504 and Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 and dismissed the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Alleyne cannot be retroactively applied to cases that were final when Alleyne was decided; and (2) consequently, Kirtdoll could not obtain relief in a section 60-1507 collateral attack. View "Kirtdoll v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Michael Brown’s motion to correct an illegal sentence. In 1999, Brown was convicted of first-degree murder. Brown was sentenced to a term of life without possibility of parole for forty years. The conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. In 2013, Brown filed this motion to correct an illegal sentence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504(1), arguing that Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. __ (2013) rendered his judicially enhanced life sentence illegal. The district court found that Alleyne did not apply retroactively to cases that were final when it was decided. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a claim that a sentence was imposed in violation of the constitutional holding in Alleyne does not fit within the definition of an illegal sentence that may be addressed with a section 22-3504(1) motion to correct an illegal sentence. View "State v. Brown" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law